thread: Pinky McKay article - Cuddle Me Mum (Personal response)

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2005
    Bunbury, WA

    Pinky McKay article - Cuddle Me Mum (Personal response)

    On BellyBelly @

    I was reading (and rereading) through all the articles on BB this evening (My tired brain means ive only got through the baby section so far), when the Cuddle Me Mum article really struck a chord with me.

    On the issues of 'crying it out' or 'controlled crying' with babies, how I feel is probably summed up by this quote of Kelly's (Zantey):

    Whether you comfort your child or not, you are teaching him a way to deal with suffering. He may learn to withdraw and not make a fuss or he may learn how great human comfort can be - and give it in return.
    But upon reading this article, I came across this:

    Leaving your baby to ‘cry it out’ may have longer term consequences for mental health: there is emerging evidence that distress at being left to cry changes the physiology of the brain and may predispose children to stress disorders such as panic, anxiety and depression later in life. Paediatrician William Sears has commented that ‘babies who appear to be ‘trained’ not to express their needs may appear to be docile, compliant or ‘good’ babies. Yet these babies could be depressed babies who are shutting down their needs. They become children who don’t speak up to get their needs met and eventually become the highest need adults.’
    This just sounds so obvious to me, now I have read it. Despite my already held opinions about this issue, I believe this cinched it for me. I dont think anyone who has ever suffered from a depressive illness could ever do something to give their child chances of experiencing the same, and I know I never will.

    If never ever letting my baby cry it out, or 'giving in' to them, even if it means going way over the top, may protect them from the feelings associated with depression than I will do it, no matter what it means for me. I dont think this feeling could be fully understood unless you also understand the deep emptyness, constant self-doubt and immense amounts of pain that are a part of depression. No way should anyone have to suffer that, and after suffering it from myself, I just hope that the one thing I achieve in parenthood is stopping my children from experiencing it too..

    Because we all want the best for our children, even if they are here with us, unborn or even unconcieved. We still love them, or who they'll be.

  2. #2
    BellyBelly Professional Support Panel

    Apr 2003

    dear Kirbay,
    what a sweet empathetic mother you are! Although I personally have not suffered from depresson, we have a strong family history which includes suicide - I have cared for my partner and my mother with this debilitating illness. This is why infant mental health is such a concern to me - however, we can only ever do our best with the information available. There are also no guarantees - mothering is really stepping into the unknown for the love of our chldren and protecting them from what is possible.Sadly there can be events along the way that are beyond our control and there is increasing evidence that there is a genetic component in depression and other mental illnesses. I have heard that there often needs to be an 'event' as well as the genetics, but like you, I believe it makes a lot of sense that if baby brains are given the very best start to grow and develop - they are far more likely to produce neurotransmitters and stress hormones in a more healthy balance.

    Babies learn to love and give love, by feeling loved - and in any case - why have a baby if you are going to spend these precious early months holding back in case we develop "bad habits" - mums need baby cuddles too - isnt this why babies are created so delicious?

    And, the best part of baby cuddles - they take away the emptiness that you may have experienced as a little one yourself.

    Follow your heart - cuddle, chat, make eye contact (it releases endorphins in you and bub and reduces stress), play and interact with your baby - love, laugh and enjoy.

    Most of all - take care of yourself, rest when you feel like it -the world will wait - and get whatever support is necessary to make you feel good about your parenting style -its difficult to swim against the tide of rigid advice.

    happy mothering,


  3. #3
    lilyd Guest

    Hi Ladies,

    I think you would agree that most mothers try and do their upmost best to love unconditionally and protect their babies. I am positive that no loving mother would let their baby "cry it out" and feel good about it.

    I believe people use the "controlled crying" technique because they see no other way out at the time. A mother cannot carry a baby in her arms 24 hours a day, although I am sure we would all love to if we had nothing else to do. If you have ever tried to pat a baby to sleep slumped over a cot for an hour you know how hard it is.

    What about lack of sleep, caused by a baby who will only sleep if being held/rocked etc and waking up and not being able to put himself/herself back to sleep. Without sleep ourselves we cannot function properly.

    You only have to look at any parenting forum to see that most posts are about lack of sleep and how to get babies to sleep better. Any mother that had been through the CC method would probably tell you "they" cried more than their baby.

    I cannot even begin to imagine what going through depression is like, a bad day feels bad enough without it being 100% worse and every day but I know if we love our children we all try to do the best that we can.